2016 Scholarship Winners. Where are they now?

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

2016 Scholarship Winners. Where are they now?

We recently met with two of our 2016 Gold Scholarship recipients to discuss the opportunities they’ve received and their personal experience as winners of the Scholarship Program.

The Middy’s Scholarship Program continues to help and support Australian electricians like Joe Hornung from AGF Electrical Installations and Aaron Durasovic from Earth and Energy be the best they can be, by providing them with a range of the most in-demand and recognised electrical industry courses available.

Aaron Durasovic 2016 Gold Winner

Middy’s: How has the Scholarship grant assisted you in achieving your long-term career goals?

Aaron Durasovic: The goal for my company Earth and Energy is to continue to excel at helping small to medium businesses improve their energy efficiency. Undertaking extra education through the Scholarship Program, has furthered my knowledge and expertise in areas not covered by a conventional Certificate III in Electrotechnology.

M: What training course(s) did you undertake or plan to undertake as a result of winning the Scholarship Program and what benefits do you think this will have on your business?

AD: I chose to study Electrotechnology Certificate IV PLC & Motor Control. I wanted a deeper understanding of SCADA and PLC systems. If I am to be able to continue improving a building’s energy efficiency going forward, I will need to cultivate an extensive knowledge base in these areas.

Over the remainder of the year, I will also complete:

  • NECA Education & Careers - Estimating Stage 1 & 2
  • Box Hill Institute - Certificate II Split Systems
  • Melbourne Polytechnic - Diploma of Electrical Project Management

M: What were the reactions from your family, friends and employer when you won the Scholarship Program?

AD: I am lucky enough to have family and friends who supported me throughout this process. They were all very excited when it was announced that I had won (one of six) Middy’s Gold Scholarship Awards. They reminded me to stay motivated and challenge myself to work hard enough for the things you want in life. The next time I dropped into my local branch, Middy’s Airport West, they saw my face all over the latest magazine and we all had a chuckle.

M: How would you evaluate your experience with the Middy’s Scholarship Program?

AD: I cannot advocate for the Scholarship Program enough. It is very generous of Middy’s to organise and fund a program aimed solely at providing further education for electricians. On the Awards Presentation Night, I had the opportunity to meet the other Scholarship recipients as well as the judges. It was great to see electricians from all over Australia gather together and toast towards educating and upskilling electricians in our industry.

M: Have the training courses you’ve undertaken helped you to excel in your business? Describe some of the benefits you and your employer have noticed with your new-found skills?

AD: Running a business and further educating myself hasn’t been easy but I’m privileged to be in this position. Currently I’m undertaking two night classes per week at the Box Hill Institute undergoing newly found skills in the Certificate IV Integrated Technology course whilst working full time. Since completing my Certificate II Split Systems & Heat Pumps, I have been able to install multiple 8kw systems in my clients’ offices and factories. Eliminating outsourcing work to a contractor and guaranteeing my clients receive high quality work they can trust.

M: What improvements would you like to see for this year’s Scholarship Program application screening process?

AD: After talking with the judges on the Scholarship Awards Presentation Night, they briefed the attendees and gave an insight into the selection process and how difficult it is to select 12 winners (6 gold recipients and 6 silver recipients). Four judges each year need to evaluate hundreds of applicants and the process is quite rigorous. A recommendation I would like to see for this year’s Scholarship Program screening process, is a face to face interview for all shortlisted applicants, giving everyone a chance to really let their personality shine. This could pave the way to seeing a higher calibre of applicants selected for this year and the future.

Joe Hornung 2016 Gold Winner

Middy’s: How has the Scholarship grant assisted you in achieving your long-term career goals?

Joe Hornung: I joined the electrical industry later in life after a career change and believed that by applying for the Middy’s Scholarship it would open new opportunities to excel in my professional life. By undertaking courses that are beneficial and adding additional skills to my portfolio. This Scholarship grant has definitely assisted in achieving my long-term goals by new found skills.

M: What training course(s) did you undertake or plan to undertake as a result of winning the Scholarship Program and what benefits do you think this will have on your business?

JH: I’ve completed two courses, a Certificate IV in Hazardous Areas and a Certificate IV in Instrumentation. The courses were challenging with a lot of information to take in. The instructors at RTO Tech Skills Australia were great, full of knowledge and industry experience. What I learnt will give me the confidence to take on new tasks and transfer and implement these skills into new opportunities for the business.

M: What were the reactions from your family, friends and employer when you won the Scholarship Program?

JH: It was a great surprise when I received the news with my wife. Disbelief turned into joy as the news finally sank in. Everyone was very excited and pleased for me when I told them I won, especially at work they got right behind me. I am fortunate to have a supportive employer who values his people and has given me the flexibility to undertake further training.

M: How would you evaluate your Middy’s Scholarship Program experience?

JH: My experience has been exceptional. The online application process was easy to understand and follow. The preparation and organisation of Middy’s with regards to the travel, accommodation and attending the award ceremony was just perfect. The Awards Presentation Night itself was a fantastic initiative and a great opportunity to meet the amazing team from Middy’s and fellow Scholarship Winners. I have nothing but praise for the whole Scholarship Program and all the people involved at Middy’s.

M: Have the training courses you’ve undertaken helped you to excel in your business? Describe some of the benefits you and your employer have noticed with your new-found skills?

JH: I firmly believe that the further training has given me a great boost of self-confidence and a sense of satisfaction and achievement. The new skills learned have allowed me to approach tasks in a more efficient and effective way. I’m now able to support my employer in taking on new business opportunities that might have been missed due to the lack of certain skills required.

M: What improvements would you like to see for this year’s Scholarship Program application screening process?

JH: Being a successful recipient of the Middy’s Scholarship Program, I cannot see any faults with or comment on improvements of the screening process. I do commend and congratulate Middy’s for putting together and financing this Scholarship Program. It is great to see that money is being put back into the electrical industry and it will continue to positively influence many individuals, their businesses and their customers for years to come.

This article was originally featured in our quarterly Middy's MAG #18 Jun - Aug 2017 Edition. Read the MAG